Cindy Gullo, LCPC - Therapist & Counselor
The Blog

The Dangers of Instagram and Snapchat on Young People’s Mental Health

Sitting is the new smoking, say health experts. Giving the rampant epidemic of obesity in this country and the number of diseases associated with a sedentary lifestyle, it’s now more evident than ever before that sitting is the worst thing we could do to our body. But, as it turns out, our sedentary culture is also taking a toll on our mental health too.

Picture this: you’re waiting for your commute, or you’re in between classes and have a few moments to spare. What’s the first thing you do? Most probably, you reach for your smartphone and begin scrolling mindlessly through social media. It seems like a simple and harmful gesture, but the consequences social media has on our mental well-being have long been noted by health therapists.

According to one study by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), Instagram and Snapchat have the worst impact on your mental health. Experts surveyed teens and young adults aged 14-23 about issues such as depression, body image, and anxiety, and used their answers to determine how social media is shaping them.

Of the five social media platforms analyzed – Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter – Instagram was found to be the worst.

Ways Instagram and Snapchat Affects Your Mental Health

  • It Triggers Sadness and Social Isolation

Your Instagram and Snapchat feed, full of fitness models, gorgeous travel photos, and #goals moments don’t always match your monotonous and toned down life. This discrepancy is enough to make you feel dissatisfied and can contribute to mental health problems, such as depression, body image issues, or even social isolation. These are all problems that require special therapy sessions to help you disconnect from your unhealthy obsessions.

  • It Makes You Compare Your Life to Others

Don’t assume that if your life on social media looks better than others, then you will get a boost in confidence. Studies found that it doesn’t matter if we’re better or worse off than our friends. Any comparison is mentally unhealthy, and it can lead to feelings of depressions and isolation.

  • You’re Feeling Left Out

It’s understandable that you’re feeling like you’re missing out on your best years when you see posts of people traveling the world or going to concerts while you are stuck doing your homework or studying for that history exam. Instagram and Snapchat, in particular, provide a breeding ground for invidious feeling. That can divert your focus from what’s really important and lead to a vicious cycle of jealousy-inducing posts and feeling left out.

While no one can deny the benefits of social media, we can’t ignore the impact it has on your mental health. Taking a break from it from time to time can help improve your psychological well-being and confidence.

If you can’t handle your negative feeling on your own, don’t hesitate to ask the help of a counselor. A therapist can teach you how to manage your emotions and detox your digital life.